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The farm Grieg intends to set up would double salmon annual production in Newfoundland and Labrador. (Photo: Grieg Seafood)

Grieg forced to present environmental assessment declaration for its Placenta Bay project

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Saturday, November 11, 2017, 00:50 (GMT + 9)

After more than a year of back and forth, the Newfoundland and Labrador Government has required Grieg NL to conduct a complete environmental assessment for the proposed salmon farm in Placentia Bay.

Minister of Environment Eddie Joyce gave the company behind the project official notice that an environmental impact statement (EIS) is required in order for the company to proceed with its plans to build the salmon farm, CBC reported.

The proposed farm would be one of the country's biggest salmon farms and with its support, the province's farmed salmon production would double annually.

The provincial government has now requested the firm to provide additional data on the project. This would include a current description of the setting that would be affected, the likely effects of the operations on the environment, the proposed measures, the alternatives and a program to monitor the likely harmful effects the project would pose.

However, if the Court of Appeals rules in the government's favour, the assessment could get dropped.

It must be recalled that last year, the provincial Government freed Grieg from having to perform an additional environmental evaluation. This decision was appealed and in July Higher Court Judge Gillian Butler ruled that the decision adopted in July by the then Environment minister Perry Trimper was irrational, and that "the minister lacked jurisdiction to appeal the project."

Minister Joyce said the appeal presented by his government is intended to determine what parts of the government's existing regulations do not measure up. 

Following Joyce's announcement, Grieg issued its own statement saying it would oblige, but that it believes the "completion of an EIS is unnecessary from an environmental perspective."

"Grieg NL looks forward to resuming work on the project if the appeal is successful," the company wrote.

Joyce said that it is hard to tell how long the EIS will take. There is a 120-day window for an environmental assessment committee to be chosen and for the guidelines to be drafted. After that, the public will be invited to weigh in.

“Then,” said Joyce, “it's up to Grieg to ensure the project meets the EIS requirements.”

In the meantime, hearings begin in the government's appeal of the Supreme Court ruling in December.

Related articles:

- Grieg believes aquaculture ruling will not jeorpadise its Newfoundland's project
- Court orders environment assessment of Grieg's aquaculture project
- Grieg's USD 186 million aquaculture project faces new legal challenge

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